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In Defense of LEVIATHAN,
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This review is from: Dark Shadows Collection 18 (DVD)
DARK SHADOWS' maligned LEVIATHAN sequence is subtle, suspenseful and genuinely creepy. The sober tone is a relief coming after the campiness of the otherwise excellent "1897 Flashback". LEVIATHAN is DARK SHADOWS for the thinking person.
The segment is rich in film and literary influences. The general storyline, loosely based on the science-horror fiction of H. P. Lovecraft ("The Dunwich Horror", "The Shadow Out of Time", "The Thing on the Doorstep", "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", THE HAUNTED PALACE), involves alien creatures from earth's prehistory which absorb the minds and wills of humans in their quest to regain supremacy through the generation of a Leviathan messiah.
The segment also draws on the 1940's films of Alfred Hitchcock (SUSPICION, SPELLBOUND); film noir (Val Lewton's THE SEVENTH VICTIM); science fiction (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED); and shivery paranoid thrillers like THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and ROSEMARY'S BABY. The subplot based on Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY is carried over from the "1897 Flashback".
The underworld journey of Quentin and Amanda is a variant on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, while their survival into the twentieth century is borrowed from THE MAN IN HALF MOON STREET and its Hammer remake THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH. Elements of PORTRAIT OF JENNIE and ALL THAT MONEY CAN BUY/THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER are included for good measure.
LEVIATHAN represents a return to the mysterious early months of DARK SHADOWS and provides good dramatic material for the actors, notably series star Joan Bennett whose role had been greatly diminished since the advent of Barnabas (Jonathan Frid) and Quentin (David Selby).
The segment is deliberately paced, relying on intrigue and suggestion, and may seem dull to viewers conditioned by the wildness and blatancy of the vampires and werewolves which take a back seat for a refreshing change.
Rating: 8/10 **** OUTSTANDING.